Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje is one of the most interesting stylistic matchups of the year and, in a weird kind of way, the coronavirus pandemic has only made matters more interesting.
Former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier is having a hard time calling the winner due to a lack of information surrounding both men’s training regimens but his gut instinct tells him Gaethje will emerge victorious on May 9.
“This is MMA. Anything can happen on any given night,” Poirier told MMA Fighting when asked about the matchup. “But stylistically, I saw it matching up — the only thing that was in the back of my mind that I thought would work against my prediction was Justin’s cardio. I didn’t know how hard he was pushing before he got the call. I don’t know what kind of shape he was in.
“The endurance could have came into factor if it went past third, fourth or fifth round. Then I think Tony could have started pulling away. But in my head, I had Justin stopping him early.”
Poirier was expected to fight Dan Hooker the following week on May 16 but ‘The Diamond’ decided to cancel his training camp and be back home with his family in Louisiana. The 31-year-old is still training — albeit lightly — at home and hopes to return to the Octagon ASAP.
“I’m staying as ready as I can,” Poirier said. “I can’t train. I can just run and hit bags pretty much. We’ll see what happens. I’m staying in decent shape but that’s not fight shape. That’s not fight camp shape. That’s not peaking for a fight. That’s just general health staying good. Staying crisp with my boxing. Stuff like that. Doing what I can do.
“Fortunately for me, I have a gym three miles away from my home, a personal gym. So I can go and hit the bags and shadow box. I have a couple buddies who have pro experience in Lafayette, La. so they’ll come meet me and we’ll wrestle a little bit here and there. Other than that, it’s just stuck in the house thinking. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple months.”
“I’m trying to get back to the title. I just want big fights. I want the highest ranked guys I can get. I just want to get back in there and get my hand raised.”
UFC: Ferguson vs. Gaethje is reported to take place on May 9 at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.